The Rule of the First and the Last

What do you do when you turn up to a networking event or a meeting? Do you turn up after everyone else? Do you leave before other people have? Well here’s a quick tip for you this week – thousands and thousands of pounds have been won through the rule of the first and the last. What do I mean by this? I mean that you’d be surprised what work comes the way of the eager beaver (the person that arrives earlier than everyone else) and the last man standing (the guy/girl that’s there ’til the bitter end!).

Why is this? I think there are a few reasons personally. If you want work, people will appreciate your efforts, they will see how comitted you are, the fact that you’re not just a jobsworth who only does the absolute minimum or just comes for the free food and drink. You’ll also get the chance to talk to far more people than your competitors having been there so early and leaving so late. This tactic also gives you more time to target who you really want to meet.

Something interesting also happens when you’re one of the last at a meeting or in a room after an event – there is an air of relaxation – the actual event is over and most people have gone home. The remaining people have done what they need to do and can relax, meaning the environment for doing business is less stressed. Watch out for this next time and see if you get the same feeling, let me know if you do.

I appreciate this is a short post this week but I can’t stress just how important this has been to my business. In the early days of my web design company, I went to every networking group out there, I got there early, scanned the list of people going, made sure I got to speak to those that I wanted too and then didn’t leave until everyone else did. There is a fine line and you need to make sure you don’t overstay your welcome (i.e. leave when the person putting on the event leaves and see if you can help them clear up but don’t keep them from getting home or you won’t be popular :))

So do you get there early and stay late or are you just there for the ‘bit in the middle’ – Has anyone made a pretty penny being one of the above? I’m keen, as always to hear from you.


  1. chris hall ( @chrish10 ) on 7th May 2010 at 11:20 am

    You make some great points Al. If you’re going to make the effort to do something then its right that you give it 110%. Flitting in and out will only annoy and frustrate those who might want to engage.

    If you want to work smarter and not harder then you need to embrace all opportunity and not pretend that you’re working hard just because you attend these things.

    Engage with passion – collaborate on knowledge – Listen to others and your own instincts

    • Banksy on 9th May 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Chris – I think that’s it mate, its the 110% in all areas of business that we need to be putting in…anything less and you’re probably not right for running an SME

  2. Robin Dickinson on 7th May 2010 at 11:27 am

    Hey banksy,

    Hope you’ve had a top week!?

    My strategy for networking events is simple – go when I know I can add the most value.

    If that means arriving early because Person A and Person B are more likely to be there, then do that.

    If you are able to continue to add value for the entire meeting, then do that.

    If you are more valuable giving Person C a lift home, then do that.

    So my approach is not so much centred around what I can get, but around what I can give. The rest takes care of itself.

    Well done!

    Best, Robin

    • Banksy on 9th May 2010 at 2:43 pm

      Love that Robin – Have you connected with Julian Summerhayes yet on Twitter? I know you two would get on really well 🙂

  3. Jonathan on 10th May 2010 at 9:25 am

    Hi Al. A good post and some interesting comments. I completely agree that you have to put the effort in, to get the result you want. And that’s something that a lot of people networking seem unclear about – Why am I here?

    I think there are a few things to consider when networking:
    – Will you meet the ‘right’ people there (the people who will help me to take my business forward).
    – You’re going there to build relationships, not win business. (You win business as a result of relationships – and the Rule of first and last can help to achieve that).

    And one tip I have for networking; at the end of the event wait by the door, that way you can catch anyone you want to speak to, but haven’t had the chance to.

    • Banksy on 14th May 2010 at 9:48 am

      Nice tip on the door thing Jon – I’ll remember that everytime I see you hanging out there at events now 🙂

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